I have come to realize that fashion forever follows nature. Polka dot dresses reminiscent of ladybirds, the black-and-white zebra stripes on high heels, the comfy jumpers with kangaroo pouches…. All the animals imported from Earth have been faithfully copied until there is nothing left to copy. And now this… Blue skin, highlighter-bright.
As a young lady of certain repute — sufficient to garner attention, yet not quite enough to make up the rules — I must conform to fashion’s dictates. So here I sit spreading blue tincture down my arm in preparation for tonight’s festivities. It’s our gold anniversary: 50 Earth years since we colonized Venus.
I say we but of course I played no part in the original settlement — why I was only decanted seventeen years ago! Some of the first colonists still have to wear firmasuits to hold their bodies in place; their bodies are too old to adjust to the gee here, but I never have had to, hence the blue skin.
I’ve heard on Earth girls brown their skin in the sun, and during the cold months tint their skin orange to recapture the warmth. Orange like the sky of Venus, like the endless canyon and deserts… It was Rosca who decided if the Earthmen wear a tribute to us, we should wear a tribute to them.
Blue is a rare colour here on Venus. But on Earth — or at least on the holograms of Earth I’ve seen — you can drown in blueness. Blue sky, blue flowers, why even rivers and lakes and oceans of blue that you can bathe in without protection! (That last I’m not sure about; surely whatever turns the water blue is noxious?)
The thought of so much blueness fills me with a strange longing. Or maybe it is the thought of so much water — the only water in my room, other than that in my body, is the quarter-full tear jar in my pocket. We’re a nation that carries our grief with us, always. It’s our best form of currency. When I fill up this tear jar I’m going to trade it in for something exciting… I don’t know what yet. Perhaps flight lessons, although mother says I should save up for a family permit. As if I am interested in starting a family now!
After what happened with Cajk, I don’t think I shall ever speak to boys again. He… he… I expect he will be there tonight with her. I saw her in the compound last week, carrying an Adsa shopping bag of all things. I imagine she buys discount tinctures there and will attend the party tonight with skin more green than blue. But I shouldn’t judge; mother says it’s unbecoming.
Although I simply cannot stop thinking about it. I don’t understand how she appeals to Cajk! I thought… I was under the impression what we shared was special. I was ready to — well, you know.
Just a minute while I put some tincture on my lips. There, all done. I’m blue everywhere. Even my insides feel blue. What a fanciful thought! But perhaps they are… Perhaps the tincture has seeped through and tainted the bottled-up grief with its colour. As if I need anymore tainting.
Perhaps that’s why Cajk left me: he realized I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t worthy.
Oh! I’m crying. I better put down the dictaphone and catch my tears.
Oh wow, I LOVE this concept. And how wonderfully you captured the feeling of blue. I especially like “…the quarter-full tear jar in my pocket. We’re a nation that carries our grief with us, always.” Profound.
Thank you! It was a very improvised idea — I just started writing and then let the words take me where they wanted to.
You get the feeling that Venusians must be a fairly happy bunch if their tears are currency. I love the “dye their skins orange in winter” bit. I’ve seen a few people of oomp-loompa complexion to make George Hamilton jealous. Why would blue be any weirder.
I also loved the main character’s voice. Even through her recent heartbreak, she sounds ebuliant and lovable.
Thank you! And yes, having tears as a currency would definitely discourage people from bottling up negative emotions and being haunted by them.
The voice was the main part I was playing around with – it was what led me to the rest of the story!
Well the words took you to a wonderfully creative place! Ah, a broken heart never gets easier, no matter on what planet one lives.
Indeed it doesn’t. Thanks for the comment!
This was so lovely.
Very well done – best thing I’ve read from you so far. Cool concept, great voice. I really enjoyed that. :)
Really? I’m so pleased you think that! *squees*
Well told. I particularly like the world building here and the imagery of the blue to mirror earthers fake tans.
Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.
I could easily see this becoming something more… and I’d be all over it in wanting to read more of it! I really was pulled into this and find myself wishing there was more. I want to know more about her, and her culture.
Thought about writing this into a novel?
I did consider a novella since I liked the character so much, but I have no ideas for the plot! But I’m glad you enjoyed it and I’ll give it some thought to see if I come up with anything. :-)
I was really impressed by your characterization of both our MC and the setting at the same time.
Thank you! I’ve never really written about other planets and such, so it was an interesting experiment.
I agree with all the other posters, it’s a lovely story, wonderfully characterised, with just enough details to give it a sci-fi twist without so many that the scientists can sit telling you “it doesn’t work like that” (my brothers are science types and they do that to my stories all the time!)
Haha! Actually my brother’s comment, upon reading, was “Fail. Venus is green.” I googled Venus though and got enough orange-y pictures to settle the debate! I do try to avoid too much scientific detail though as I really do not have the background for it. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. :-)
Loved this! And I laughed at the mention of earth girls turning themselves orange during the winter months – blue would be way cooler (as Avatar showed us!)
What a wonderfully portrayed future-world, I did laugh though at the Asda shopping bag (on Venus of all places)
And on a planet where water is a rare commodity, tears would indeed be valuable currency. (The flipside to the soil in Kevin Costners Waterworld)
Even Venus needs discount shops! :-) I haven’t actually seen Waterworld, but I think the title’s pretty self-explanatory. :-)
Thanks for the comment!